It took Brett Rutledge nearly an hour to boat one of the biggest sharks in Alabama history on July 22. While competing with a team of anglers in the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo, Rutledge hauled in a tiger shark weighing roughly 1,019 pounds.
If the catch holds up to scrutiny by the state, Rutledge’s tiger shark will set a new Alabama record for the species. The current state-record tiger shark, according to the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, weighed 988 pounds. It was caught near Gulf Shores by angler Larry Eberly in 1990.
“We caught seven sharks this morning, and this happened to the biggest,” Rutledge told Fox-10 News over the weekend. “I’m excited … and if it does hold, it will be a new state record, so that would be cool.”
No official length measurement was available, but judging from the photo of the anglers standing beside it, the tiger shark appeared to be well over 10 feet long. It also had some tremendous girth, along with a huge, blunt-nosed head that’s typical of big tigers.
Spud Marshall, who was fishing with Rutledge during the tournament, said they caught the shark while trolling. It turned a tough day of tournament fishing into one for the record books.
“It was a fight, but we got it,” Marshall told reporters. “We went out to catch swordfish, but the bite just wasn’t happening. So, on our way in we decided to set some lures out, and we caught it on the way in.”
This year marks the 90th annual Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo. Billed as “the largest fishing tournament in the world,” the three-day event brings in over 3,000 anglers each year. It’s located on Dauphin Island where Mobile Bay meets the Gulf of Mexico.
The world-record tiger shark was caught by Kevin Clapson on in March, 2004 near Ulladulla, Australia. Its official weight was 1,785 pounds, 11 ounces.